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September 30, 2014

Apple will no longer sell NBC shows on iTunes

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 31st 2007 3:18PM
The OfficeWhat happens when a major content producer like NBC tells a major digital content distributor like iTunes that it wants more money per episode? If you guessed contract negotiations devolve into a hissyfit, you're right.

NBC says it will not renew its contract to sell television shows through iTunes when that contract expires in December. And Apple says that's fine by them, even though NBC is the top supplier of video content for iTunes, with popular shows like The Office, Heroes, and Battlestar Galactica.

NBC wanted to charge more for downloads and also wanted improved anti-piracy measures. Apple has responded by saying NBC essentially wanted to more than double the wholesale price of certain episodes, which would result in videos being sold for $4.99 per episode instead of $1.99. And since NBC would wind up pulling its shows in mid-season if they cancel their agreement in December, Apple has decided not to offer NBC shows at all this fall.

Of course, if it was that black and white, we imagine that Apple would have let NBC go ahead and have its way. After all, customers probably won't buy episodes if they're priced that high, and NBC would be forced to lower their prices. There are still a few months before the contract expires, which leaves plenty of time for the two companies to resolve their differences.

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Jim

Thanks for posting Jeff Zucker's phone number, Timothy. Can you believe I called and was able to get through to him?

He doesn't seem like he's going to budge on the $4.99, but I did get him to promise to look at a script I wrote for "30 Rock." Now if I can only get myself cast in the role of Liz's new boyfriend.

September 02 2007 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bash

*snicker* 4.99$ an Episode. In the age of TiVo and PVRs.

Leno said that cinemas raked in 4 billion $ this year - with movies like the 5th Potter, the 3rd Spider man, the 3rd Bourne et cetera.

Is piracy still a topic? I guess not. Why? Because they finally got their grip around the pirating people so firm that they don't dare to download anymore. And now that they do they feel they can ask for ridiculous amounts of money again. It could be Hulu - but if you ask me I think this is an after-effect of the DMCA. Took a bit, but they finally reap what they sowed via aggressive lobbying.

September 01 2007 at 9:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Timothy James McNeely CFP®

Feeling shafted by NBC’s proposed $4.99 an episode price hike that got their new fall season kicked out of iTunes?

Kevin Wick has been kind enough to look up the contact information for the NBC Executives that are key to getting this situation reversed.

Amy Zelvin, NBC Universal Digital Media Communications, (212) 664-7436 amy.zelvin@nbcuni.com
Joe Libonati, NBC Universal Television Group Publicity, (818) 840-3050 joe.libonati@nbcuni.com

(edit) Some additions-

Jeff Zucker, President and Chief Executive Officer, NBC Universal (212) 664-4444 jeff.zucker@nbcuni.com
Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio ben.silverman@nbcuni.com

Now, please don’t call these people and threaten them, cuss them, or yell at them. That’s not going to get anything accomplished.

If, however, you want to politely let them know how you feel about their suggested price increase, and subsequent removal from iTunes, it might actually have some affect.

If enough people call, NBC just might listen…you never know.

August 31 2007 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
f Ron

NBC will eventually back down from this one is my guess. They make a lot of money from Heros and Battlestar on iTunes. They don't dare walk away from that money.

August 31 2007 at 9:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Mc

NBC will not only not get my $1.99 for each show, but I will now steal them without commercials.

August 31 2007 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Usama

Mel,

If you can download Heroes via Torrents in .avi format, you can use Videora to convert those episodes to iPod format. If you have a computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor they take about 12-min to convert. Not too bad.

Of course, I'm not promoting this, just giving you an alternative. To be on topic, I always felt $1.99 was a bit too much if you look at it in a season-perspective, and pretty much for the same reasons as was listed by John DunB: DVDs provide better quality. Also DVDs give extras and the fact that it's a physical medium I can hold and store and lend to people is nice too!

I don't want to pay $1.99 for JUST an episode. Episodes air for free on TV.

August 31 2007 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

Apparently NBC wanted $4.99 for each episode...which is totally ridiculous.

It's NBC's loss...people who were watching the shows on iTunes may turn to illegal methods (Bittorrent).

August 31 2007 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

Right Dave, they are going to stop adding new content very soon (no official date) so they wont be adding any shows from the upcoming fall season. Nothing official has been set but knowing how Apple likes to think about itself, I imagine all NBC properties will be coming down.

August 31 2007 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mel

Awww. And my dad just got a Video iPod too.... I guess that's no watching Heroes on roadtrips for me.

August 31 2007 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian

When will these companies realize that no matter what you do to try and protect your content, people will always, always, always find a way around it.

Always.

It's more certain than death and taxes...

August 31 2007 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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